British retail trade union Usdaw has slammed the government for its plan to lift safety measures in stores as part of the further easing of Covid restrictions this month.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced Monday that from July 19 shoppers would no longer be required to wear face coverings or maintain social distancing inside stores and other public spaces.
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis described the decision as “too much too soon” and said there is “no reason” why such safety measures can’t continue.
“Wearing a face covering in crowded public areas like shops is not merely a personal choice, it is an important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with large numbers of people as a part of their job,” Lillis said in a release.
“The main purpose of face coverings is to protect others and the government must send out a clear message on this.”
Usdaw said it is urging the public to continue wearing face coverings, sanitising their hands and maintaining social distancing while shopping. It is also urging employers to maintain appropriate safety measures and ensure that they are being followed consistently.
“Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families,” Lillis said. “Supermarket workers and delivery drivers have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”